How to choose an energy-efficient fridge
What to think about before replacing your old one
When it comes to kitchen appliances, the refrigerator typically guzzles more energy than any other. These days, however, manufacturers are rolling out energy-saving models like never before, incorporating high-efficiency compressors and improved insulation and door seals. If you’re ready to trade up, here’s what to look for:
It’s generally easier on planet and wallet to run one large unit instead of two small ones (each with its own motor and compressor). Better yet, if you know your single big fridge will sit empty for extended periods, consider replacing it with a compact model. Smaller is better, because there’s less space to cool.
Look for the Energy Star logo, which means the appliance exceeds federal energy-efficiency standards by at least 20 per cent, and also compare annual energy use between models. Don’t even think about keeping your old fridge as a beer cooler—a pre-1993 model sucks up twice the power of a new, Energy Star–rated appliance. If you insist on keeping it around for parties, at least unplug it between events.
A side-by-side refrigerator-freezer expends 10 to 30 per cent more electricity than a similarly sized model with the freezer on top (the freezer-on-the-bottom model falls in between). For most efficiency, don’t place your fridge in a sunny spot or beside your stove, where it has to work harder to keep cool.
Energy-efficient fridge manufacturers
- Energy Star’s website has a list of energy-efficient fridges and freezers
Other helpful information
- Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada
- American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
- Articles from TreeHugger.com
Top Rated Energy Star Refrigerators
Greening a Home One Fridge (and Rebate) at a Time
This article was originally published on March 20, 2008